from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Music The ornamentation of music written for the voice with florid passages, especially trills and runs.
  • n. Music Vocal music characterized by florid ornamental passages.
  • n. Music A singer, especially a soprano, specializing in such ornamentation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. plural florid or fancy passages in vocal music
  • n. singular a singer of such passages, especially a soprano
  • adj. Pertaining to coloratura.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. singing with florid ornamentation
  • n. a lyric soprano who specializes in coloratura vocal music


Obsolete Italian, from Late Latin colōrātūra, coloring, from Latin colōrātus, past participle of colōrāre, to color, from color, color; see color.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian coloratura, from Late Latin coloratura, from colorare "to colour". (Wiktionary)


  • It also showed an ability to sing coloratura, which is a fast, fluid way of singing music that is ordinarily not that easy for the more dramatic singers.

    Maria Callas: Voice Of Perfect Imperfection

  • It also showed an ability to sing coloratura, which is a fast, fluid way of singing music that is ordinarily not easy for the more dramatic singers.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Now, the French soprano, 45 years old, returns to a part designed for a singer who can handle "coloratura" — elaborate trills and zippy singing.

    High Notes

  • They clearly love playing for him and grabbed every opportunity to thrill us with their classy reading of Rachmaninov's arching, aching second symphony, which was a perfect companion for the evening's curio, Glière's Concerto for coloratura soprano and orchestra though nearly 40 years apart, they share the same lush, chromatic harmonic language.

    The Turn of the Screw; BBC Proms 32, 35, 36 – review

  • Called “La Stupenda,” she combined the heft of a Wagnerian singer with the agility and upper register of a coloratura soprano, leading to powerful interpretations of great bel canto roles that had lain dormant for decades -- following in the wake of Maria Callas, who had spearheaded their initial revival.

    Joan Sutherland: addio, Stupenda

  • Bonynge also helped guide her away from the Wagnerian track that might have seemed to be a natural for someone of her vocal endowments, and into the realm of the coloratura soprano.

    Joan Sutherland: addio, Stupenda

  • And then came the extra enchantment: a magnificent coloratura voice emerged from this petite five-footer, one that could hold its own with Lauritz Melchior, the renowned Wagnerian tenor.

    The day I met my Hollywood crush

  • The four soprano parts have so many notes high above the stave, and so much coloratura, that they are usually shared by at least two singers.

    In 'Tales of Hoffmann,' All's Fair in Love

  • Gaetano Donizetti Naples, Italy, 1835No one provides a better coloratura "mad scene" – a 19th-century Romantic opera habit – than Donizetti in Lucia, based on Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor.

    Top 50 operas

  • Once again there are roles requiring coloratura facility (Rosina in The Barber of Seville), lyric roles (Charlotte in Werther) and dramatic roles (Amneris in Aida, Ortrud in Lohengrin).

    Who's who: the different voices in opera


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  • You can just move to Italy, and use it whenever you like. :-)

    August 22, 2008

  • I love it, too. It seems that it would have seeped into other usages or contexts by now.*sighing* I mean, don't you think the fall landscape in the mountains is full of coloratura? And I guess a naughty joke would be considered off-coloratura if it were particularly graphic (or colorful). I want to start a committee whose purpose is to get more mileage out of coloratura. Why limit it to singing/music?

    August 22, 2008

  • See fioritura.

    September 2, 2007

  • I love this word and have few occasions to use it.

    July 12, 2007